One kingdom. One crown. One family.
“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”
Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?
As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.
The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.
*ARC received via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
A House of Rage & Sorrows picks up immediately from where A Spark of White Fire left off. (You can read me gushing about the first book here – ASOFW Review) It continues the story with the consequences of what happened in ASOFW & how Esmae deals with the new challenges thrown her way.
I would say that this book is a worthy sequel to the first one. I absolutely adored ASOFW and had very, very, very high expectations from the second book, and of course, Mandanna delivered. This book is just as rife with tension as its predecessor and fills you with the same edginess as the first one. The stakes have understandably risen since the first book, and we see the characters deal with a lot more threats thrown their way, and see them deal with the consequences of their actions in the first book.
There are still plenty of plot twists that leave you stunned, some which you never see coming ever, some which you never even comprehended could happen. This book takes a vast turn from the original with only a few landmark incidents being highlighted to showcase the progress of the book vis – a – vis the actual Mahabharata. I loved how we delved so much deeper into the side characters in this one. A lot of them were given more screen space, given more layers, more development. That was a definite win for this book!
The characters drew me in once again, just like they did in the first one. Esmae’s change from who she was in the first book to who she is now is so drastic, and yet, so very believable. I found myself sympathizing with her more and more as the story progressed. I also admired her will and determination to make things happen. She took control, she charged headfirst and didn’t back down. The events of ASOFW definitely took a huge toll on her and its visible in every single action of hers.
Max was, once again, a welcome surprise in this book as well. We got to learn a lot more about him and some of the stuff that was uncovered was amazing. I NEVER SAW IT COMING AND IT MADE THE EXPERIENCE SO MUCH BETTER! His character arc was explored more, as was his relationship with Esmae and I found myself sorta rooting for them. Still uncomfortable with the whole premise, but the way that they both care for each other is definitely making me want their happiness.
Alexi, though. ALEXI! He made me feel a lot of feels in this book. He faced the consequences of his actions and it made my heart bleed to see the entire thing unfold. He made me want to love him and hate him at the same time and that’s what makes him such a great character. He’s probably the most layered character in all of the series by the end of this book, and I loved uncovering these new sides of him. He had extremely less screen space in this one as compared to the first, and yet we learned so much about him.
Kirran stole my heart in this one. I absolutely wanted to hug him tight and protect him forever, odd seeing as he’s a god. But, his pain and his longing made me feel so much. Like I said in the first review, his character is my favourite in all of the story, and he got that spot back in this one. He’s so very well crafted, it makes my heart leap with joy. His portrayal is so human which is a paradox seeing as he’s a god, but that’s what makes him so special. He’s absolutely amazing and I adore him!
Amba, who appeared in brief intervals in the first book, was present here as well, even though she was there for an even shorter time as compared to the first one. I didn’t talk about her in my earlier review, but hers is a character that I’ve come to adore after this one. ASOFW had left me so very conflicted about her and her role in this war, but what she did in this one was beyond my comprehension and it was something that made me want to hug her forever.
Sybilla who had very little presence in the first book got a larger role in this one and her character was one that I adored. Her struggles, her fight, her journey, it was all really beautiful and at the same time heart wrenching to see and I LOVED IT!
I absolutely loved how we got hear from Titania every few chapters. This book has given her a voice that I never expected it. This made Titania a character in her own right, as opposed to a tool that she was in the first one. Sentient as she might be, she did not have as much depth in the first one and getting a look at the story through her eyes was absolutely fascinating.
This book completely stunned me with everything. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to take this direction, but it did. There were some revelations that made me extremely happy, some that made me so mad, and others that made me sad. By the end of the book, I felt myself getting conflicted more than ever before. Before reading this book, this series, I had a very clear picture of what I wanted the ending of the Mahabharata to be, who I wanted to be the one who emerged victorious at the end of the battle. The climax of this though, left me speechless. It made me cry.
After this book, all I can say is that Sangu Mandanna is a genius and she stays winning.
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
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Have you read A Spark of White Fire? Are you excited for the release of A House of Rage and Sorrows? Which character are you most excited to see return? What plot twists are you anticipating?